Foster lateral thinking and pragmatic problem solving to unearth future talent in computer programming.

What teachers and students think

Computational and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) will be held on Wednesday 4 May to Friday 6 May 2022

This year we are allowing a three-day window, to give you more flexible scheduling in your classes. While you can choose any day in this range, it’s ideal to have your students sit CAT on the same day. 

The Computational and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competition is a one-hour problem-solving competition designed to encourage student curiosity and promote multiple modes of thinking.

Neither teachers nor students need computer programming ability, but the competition helps identify students’ computer programming potential. 

The competition is an ideal activity to encourage students to solve real-world problems. It is suitable for any mathematics class and the process helps students become more confident as they take on interesting new challenges. 

The competition has a mixture of multiple-choice and integer answers and incorporates unique ‘three-stage tasks’ that encourage students to develop informal algorithms and apply them to test data of increasing size or complexity. The original problems are designed to be quick to solve and highly approachable, and range in difficulty from very easy to challenging. Some questions test the ability to perform procedures, others require logical thought, while the more challenging problems require the identification and application of algorithms.

The CAT has four divisions: Upper Primary (years 5–6), Junior (years 7–8), Intermediate (years 9–10) and Senior (years 11–12). 

Paper and online versions are available. 

Registered home schools

Teachers in home schools are eligible to register as school coordinators and run our competitions. If you would like to do so, please download, fill out and return this registration form to this email address with proof of your home school registration in your state or territory.


Build on CAT with the Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC)

The Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC) which is available for students who are talented in computer programming. The OUCC builds on the principles used in the CAT competition and helps students develop their skills further to produce programmed solutions to computational thinking problems. The first round is open to all students who have competed in the CATFind out more information about the OUCC here.

Everything about the competition, a guide to running it, instructions for on the day and what to do afterwards.

The Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC) builds on the CAT. Learn more.

Our competitions and programs empower students to become better problem solvers in school, so they can be creative solution finders in life.

Check out our huge range of maths and problem-solving resources for teachers, parents and students.

Suitable for students in years 3-12, this school-based maths competition reaches a global audience and attracts more than 250,000 entries each year.